Thursday, June 3, 2010

Project Notebook Organizing Day

This last weekend was the Memorial Day three-day weekend (March 29-31), so I took the opportunity to do some spring cleaning on the spare bedroom that serves as my computer room and art/music studio. Two bookcases are now full of books that used to be packed in boxes that took up space and got in the way, my art supplies are now in two new storage compartments, and now my drawing table is clear of boxes and ready to use for the first time since I moved across town last April. For the next few days, I asked myself, "Now what can I do to clean up the living room and the master bedroom?" The initial answer for the master bedroom turned out to be: notebooks. Notebooks take up the closet shelves and fill boxes that, yes, take up space and get in the way. My most important notebooks are the 14 binders that contain my Project Notebooks from 1991 to last year (this year once I print up this blog's entries for this year and last year). Since I'd gotten some empty binders at second-hand stores in the last few years, I decided to use them: Project Notebooks 3 through 8, which used to be in separate 1" binders, are now in two 3" binders, and #1 is now in a much better and slightly wider binder of the same color as the original (red); Notebooks 9 through 12, which used to be in cheesy business presentation binders, are now in good white binders that will allow me to give them cover artwork (which I'll have to somehow convert from FreeHand 3 and CorelDRAW 6 formats to the new SVG vector graphics standard).

I like to think of my Project Notebooks as my private proto-blog. I originally intended them to be primarily sketchbooks, but they turned out to be more like story and philosophical journals with scattered self-instruction and practice sketches and the occasional character design. I started the first of them when I belonged to a local anime club that lasted from late 1991 to early 1995. Shortly before then, in 1989, I'd decided I wanted to do comics, and my anime club experience convinced me that the amazing product just then beginning to reach the US from Japan was so superior to the standard American superhero "mainstream" (I wish I'd coined the word "lamestream" in 1993!) that it would have to be the manga style that I would learn. However, my evil powers of procrastination are so strong that I still haven't finished learning how to draw the human head even though I've spent 11 years trying to learn only that — on and off, of course. Once I'd discovered NaNoWriMo and started writing the first of my still unfinished novels, my drawing output trickled almost to nothing. After two years of drawing nothing (unfortunately assisted by the boxes blocking all access to my drawing table), only last month have I started drawing again. The drawing scattered throughout pages and pages of handwritten and computer-typed notes bear witness to my still fruitless struggle.

I'm still amazed that even though the first real blogs in the sense of online journals were around by 2000, I never started a blog of my own until just over two years ago (March 2008), when I started this blog and my main blog. My excuse? My failed attempts to set up a website had convinced me that I had nothing to say online. I was not a public person at all in my first online decade. I didn't even participate in online forums; I was strictly a lurker. No matter how interesting my Project Notebook entries got, I could never summon the same fire and inspiration for a website or a blog. Above all, I wanted pictures, and my drawing skills are still, so to speak, extremely sketchy. So I stuck to my Project Notebooks and remained silent in public.

My project blog has mostly replaced my Project Notebook. The notes on current events that I used to churn out on a regular basis in my notebooks are now in my opinion blog, which I don't update anywhere near as often. Some interesting stuff I find online gets noted in yet another blog. I think I have enough blogs. There's only one thing left that the Project Notebook is useful for, and that's my drawing self-instruction. Or maybe it's two, the other being Spanner story notes (mainly plot organization) that are too technical (the mechanics of actually writing the thing) for me to bother putting them here. I'll post progress reports on any improvements in my drawing skills here, and eventually I'll start posting actual sketches once again.

Now to figure out how to convert those Project Notebook covers and title pages...

Back to Spanner’s World...

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